How To Beat Anxiety!
I found that anxiety is almost always created by negative dialogue, what we say in our own minds.
So how does it work?
First of all it will more than likely start with something internal like negative dialogue, which will then create a picture in the mind. These two things together then start the process of creating a negative and most unwelcome feeling.
We will have a stimulus - maybe an event coming up in the future which you may think about, kick starting the process.
Next is the cognition, where your brain will look to see how you coped last time - using those memories as a reference point to how it reacted last time.
This then creates an emotion which will then create the feeling of anxiety.
Every cognition produces an emotion, based on your past experiences.
So it all start with your thoughts in your mind then creates the old feelings that are no longer useful.
Anxiety is a little like a train at the station, if we catch it in time we can stop the train - but if we allow the train to leave the station then it becomes harder to stop it.
The first thing to start to notice is how you talk to yourself in your own mind. I’ve found that people use high pitch and fast tones and pace so they talk to themselves internally in a very panicky sounding voice and tone.
Some people have a phrase they say to themselves such as “Oh no here we go again” this will trigger those old feelings of anxiety due to the fact the phrase has been reinforced every time it has been used.
What would happen if you were to slow this down and make that voice sound almost lazy or normal again?
To beat anxiety you need to start to break those old cycles of thought and behaviors. I know from talking to clients in the past that people have a certain routine they have to go through in order to create the right conditions for anxiety to manifest itself.
Direct your thoughts where you want to go instead of where you don’t!
Think of the mind like a Satellite Navigation system, if you were to program that satnav on a journey you will hopefully program it to go straight to your destination, not on a detour to place to didn’t want to go. Instead of thinking “I hope I don’t get an anxiety attack today” THINK “I going to be calm and relaxed today”, now doesn't that make more sense to you?
Another great tip is to relax by doing some deep breathing exercises. I tell clients to take 10 - 15 minutes a day to learn to relax and take time out for themselves. It is important not to fall asleep during this time out so the body learns it can relax without falling to sleep.
How to do Deep Breathing Exercises:
- Find somewhere comfortable and somewhere you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with that you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs.
- Lie down or sit in a comfy chair and place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this means that you will be breathing from the bottom of your lungs rather than the top. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out.
- Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to return to normal.
- Concentrate on the different parts of your body, allowing them to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing and safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing.
- Allow yourself 10 - 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making it a part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep (although you may find it hard not to drop off at first).
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